March 7, 2019
With regard to the name that will compose party lists in the upcoming European parliamentary elections, we know now that at least four major parties chose women as heads of their lists of candidates. Since the voting system allows voters to also cast a preferential vote to one of the candidates on the list they are choosing, being no. 1 on the list doesn’t necessarily mean you are first to get a parliamentary seat but rather that you serve as a face of that list, and will almost certainly participate in election debates.
So far the lists have been presented by Nova Slovenija (NSi), Socialni demokrati (SD), Levica and most recently also the Prime Minister’s Lista Marjana Šarca (LMŠ), who surprised with some very fresh faces, a bit too fresh, some might say.
Soon Slovenska Demokratska Stranka (SDS) is expected to present their list of candidates, and if they decide to put the current European Member of Parliament Romana Tomc at the head of the list, this would be the fifth woman in such a position so far.
Although women are usually allowed to lead in times of crisis (the so-called “glass cliff”, as seen with Alenka Bratušek becoming prime minister during the peak of the last financial crisis, of Theresa May taking charge after the Brexit vote) or when no chance of winning is in sight (five women were pushed into the race against the incumbent and very popular President Borut Pahor who was running for a second term in 2017). With few exceptions this time the female candidates are strong and experienced politicians, with, hopefully, good chances of winning their European Parliament seats, which continues to be seen as an honorable and well-rewarded job.
NSi: Ljudmila Novak, one of the strongest female politicians in the country and former party president, managed to beat her party colleague, current member of the European Parliament and one of independent Slovenia’s first generation of politicians, Lojze Peterle, at the top of the list. With Ljudmila at the top, Lojze fell to no. 3.
SD: Tanja Fajon, current Member of the European Parliament. One of most active and recognisable Slovenian politicians serving in Brussels.
Levica: Violeta Tomič. The former actress is one of the strongest female politicians in Slovenia, and also one of the two transnational spitzenkandidaten of the oppositional “European Left”.
LMŠ: Irena Joveva, a 30 year-old journalist without any political experience.
While recent polls suggest strong popular support for Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) it remains to be seen how this latest choice might affect the party’s popularity. So far the group’s success has been mainly based on the charisma of its leader and the current Prime Minister, Marjan Šarec.
At the press conference on Monday Šarec explained his party’s choice of candidates with the following words: “This is like sending a song to the Eurovision song contest. It is difficult to know what the winning formula might be.”